In the light of the Forum’s 10th anniversary looming on the horizon like a dark, threatening, but sliver-lined cloud. We asked lifelong Forum mainstay and all-round good egg David Jarvis to let us have a peak In that book he keeps under his bed. No, not ‘Big Nuns in Custard Weekly, but his work-in-progress ‘History of the Forum’. Mr. Jarvis has kindly allowed us to print a few excerpts from this hallowed manuscript, shortly to be filmed as a ten part series on Channel 4. Mr. Jarvis did however declined to let us have a photo of himself on the grounds that, “We’d only fuck about with it and make him look like a right berk”. Instead, please enjoy this photo of that ‘Carry On’ japester Charles Hawtrey. The following extracts are best read with the lights out.
The Forum is widely held by experts to be the best live venue in Great
Britain. Except for some in London, which are better, or not, as the case
may be. Let’s start again. The Forum is a live venue in Great Britain. It
is a centre for creativity, a centre for making friends, or in the case of
Steve Dangerous, enemies, It is a non-judgmental liberal facility that
welcomes every conceivable art form, except pottery, which is girly
rubbish for sandal wearing commie ex-school teachers
In any given week, the Forum showcases roughly 10 bands. That means that in the course of a year, (not including Leap years) at least 500 bands will have walked out on to the famous stage - many of them buying their equipment, be it a plectrum, or a competitively priced amp from JBs Music in St Johns Road (see Paul Russell for latest discounts). Placed end to end, these bands would stretch from the cafe in Calverley Park all the way to in gear clothes shop in Camden Road. A pretty impressive scientifically proven fact, I’m sure you’ll agree! These bands cover the entire modern musical spectrum, from alternative rock to indie pop, from ska to ska. You name it, the Forum puts it on. Or rather the Forum puts it on LOUDLY . Music events in Tunbridge Wells pre-Forum, consisted of groups of furtive youths singing Kumbaya in the phone box outside Starbucks who ran the gauntlet of being chased off by the bloke in the wheelchair who plays the accordion in Calverley Road every Saturday morning. Oh yes, those dark days are long gone. Nowadays Tunbndge Wells is home to an important Institution, one where touring bands play every Friday and Saturday night. Important, exciting bands like: Oasis, Catatonia, Ocean Colour Scene, Cornershop, Reef, Stereophonics, Level 42, Feeder and Muse have all been refused drinks at the bar, or stopped to ask directions to the Forum in Kentish Town. But lest we forget, the Forum doesn’t just ‘do’ live music, oh no! Comedy nights have established the venue as an integral cog in the national comedy circuit, and indeed, is seen as an important gig to get for every up-and -coming comedian. In fact, I believe it was Sir Les Dennis, himself a veteran of the comedy circuit as well as comic genius on inbred Family Fortunes who stated in his recent autobiography; ‘Holden Back The Tears’, that; ‘if you can get a laugh in Tunbridge Wells, you can get a laugh anywhere’. Praise indeed from such an icon eh? Also, here’s an extract from Jim Kerr of Simple Minds autobiography ‘AnythIng U2 can do, we can cock up’. "I well recall seeing the then unknown Oasis at a toilet called the Forum. The brothers Gallagher were like musical Gods, I turned to my wife Patsy and said ‘If Liam was a woman I’d marry him’. She just smiled and walked off to the bog. / shouted alter her, ‘Hey, take some Izal with you, love’. But she was gone, too drunk on the music to care’
The Forum continues to offer an eclectic mix of the zeitgeist vorsprung durch technique.
I’m not sure what that means, but It must be relevant as NME have used it in every review since
A venue that is as relevant today as it was back in 1992, raise your glass with me - The Forum
Uncle Brian The Spartans
Saturday 6th July
Ah yes....Uncle Brian, not to be confused with Canadian rock outfit that
goes by the very same moniker!. These Salisbury pop-punkers ( Is that
Salisbury in Wiltshire, or the former name of Harare in Zimbabwe? -
showing his age Ed) have been supporting the world and his wife for the
past 12 months., playing with the likes of Bowling for Soup, and generally
raising the roof with their goodtime pop-punk singalongs. Hopefully
they'll give their version of the Vengaboys 'Going to Ibiza' a miss when
they play here. Or maybe not! Always the bridesmaid never the bride eh?
Well, I think it's about time that Uncle Brian received the recognition
they deserve! For
example, go to their website www.uncle-brian.com for information , and
what do you find under the 'About' section......shite all! If the lads
don't know anything about themselves, how do they expect a retard like me
to know .
Bristolian tractor drivers THE SPARTANS formerly known as Chineapple Punks, I ask you! (Rich pictured right displaying the alarming symptoms of Elephantiasis that I believe is prevalent in the Somerset region) bring their own particular brand of skapunk. Let joy be unconfined.
Thursday 11th July
Sadly missed but never forgotten, ex art student Ian Dury, Lord Upminster himself, first came on to the music scene back in 1975 with Kilburn & The High Roads. This band of artschool misfits took the pubrock circuit by storm with their quirky jazz-tinged songs of London lowlife. Later, teaming up with session musicians to form the excellent Blockheads, Ian released hit after hit, and stunned audiences with his music hall tinged stage shows. In fact, on one occasion I saw Ian with none other than 'comedian' and vintage music hall star Max Wall as a support act.
Following Ian's sad death, you might well think you'll never see his like again. Indeed we won't, but getting pretty damn near it are THE BLOX. This seven piece band of relative newcomers featuring Iron Brewery on vocals, Norman Watt-Not on dexterous basslines and Chaz Wanker, this band have been storming venues and leaving the audiences gagging for more. A definite must-see if you like a good laugh and a Coltrane influenced sax solo or two.
Half Inch Heroes
Friday 12th July
Not a band to limit theirselves AWKWARD THOUGHT attract a wide range of
music fans with their blend of hardcore and classic punk. Their fans are hardcorekids, metalheadz,
straightedgers and just about everything in between.What makes this band
so appealing is that entwined in the obvious hardcore sounds, you also
have hints of metal, OI!, and streetpunk. Anyway, enough of that press
release titwank. This band of New York ne'er-do-wells kick some serious
fast, it's furious and it's loud as fuck! It makes me feel so angry its hurting my brain. Feel my pain....feel my pain!
Singer John Franko's confrontational corpse-exhuming rough voice belies the fact that
poor ol' John has an unfortunate condition which requires him to wear two
hoodies, a knitted hat and a deerstalker a la Sherlock Holmes at all times
lest he be recognised from CCTV footage of that Southborough sweet shop
heist as reported on last weeks Police 5. Keep 'em peeled! Also appearing
will be yet another Bristol act FIVE KNUCKLE, who've been cutting the
collective rug up and dahn this fair land supporting Mad Caddies, Agnostic
Front, Capdown etc
It's skacore to the toppermost of the poppermost Johnnie!. . .
Champions of Sound
Good Cop Bad Cop
Saturday 13th July
Back in the distant days of yore, before Alien Ant Farm became the
Colossus of Shite be-straddling the Straits of Girlyrapmetal. Back in 1989
when you were a mere glisten on the end of your Dad's one-eyed love
monster. ("This one goes out to the One Eyed Love (pump)" - REM anyone?)
There was a band named Helmet who with their coruscating riff-centric
sound sucker-punched the NYC jaded underground scene.. Yes, the veritable
Adam & Eve of grindcore, sludgecore, indeed, any kind of core you care to
mention (Cor blimey Missus, it's the Slater sisters!)
Ex-HELMET guitarist Chris Traylor, along with Sergio Vega, ex-QUICKSAND bassist (responsible for the likes of Rival Schools and the ever-growing emotive hardcore sound), and MTV Euro jock, Sybil Buck, have joined forces to create something truly wonderous, CHAMPIONS OF SOUND.
Also appearing tonight are J.MAJESTY. Think Jane's Addiction - think Fugazi - think Jawbox.
Think you'd better get your collective arses down here to luxuriate in this splendiferous wall of sound.
Wednesday 17th July
Hard touring skapunkers [spunge] have been on the road constantly since the summer of '98. That's the trouble when you get a job working for the Highways Commission! Seriously though, these lads have played in every toilet, even the one in the lad Lawrence's hovel, and that's not a pretty sight.. This Tewkesbury five-piece have been packing 'em out and skinnin' 'em up and wowing audiences the globe over. Of late, they've finally cracked it, and their video has received heavy rotation on Kerrang TV, reaching #2 no less on their chart. There are a mindless, precious, precocious few who immediately stonewall and begrudge any band that racks up any kind of success.. I myself reckon the lads have earned it, just witness the confidence and stagecraft of mainman Alex Copeland as he conducts this manic symphony of boundless bouncing as if by instinct. Their life-affirming stomps are full of amusing tongue-in-cheek lyrics. Smiley, jaunty riffs and seismic choruses all add up to the promise of a bleedin' good night out. Support on the night comes from local leg ends the Flying Carnies, who are bit of a hit with 'the ladies' of the Forum, particularly phwoarsome Matt (pictured above).
Sidearms for Midgets
Friday 19th July
It's been a bit of a traumatic time these past few months for skapunkers
LUBBY NUGGET, with band members coming and going like nobody's business!
However, they're now back off the ropes and back down to their fighting weight, this time with two new members Siamese twins Stig and Lancelot (pictured right).
More than capable of playing cool trad ska, then whipping you into a frenzy with no-nonsense punk, the lads have been lazily compared to Less Than Jake and Voodoo Glow Skulls. But seeing as I personally don't know my arse from a hole in the ground, I couldn't possibly comment. This show promises to be a pogoskanktastic night for all. Now, if you could just examine this hole in the ground little boy...............................................
Household Name Records summer sensation
Friday 26th July
Home to all things hardcore, punky and loud. London based Household Name
Records have been going from strength to strength compiling a stable of
well 'ard acts. Unlike Robbie Jackson's pet, these are no dogs, no siree!
A rolling package of six acts, playing various seaside resorts and Butlins holiday camps (Shorely shome mishtake - Ed), the Summer Sensation has been exciting audiences like a pair of electrodes on your nipples.From the top pictured left, we have ootsy bootsy Swedish hardcore punkers DA SKYWALKERS whose new album has "...14 massive tracks of singalong streetpunk & hardcore anthems - anthems which Dropkick Murphys would kick their grandmother out of bed for, the punk bite of early Rancid, and the political nous of Pennywise. A new chapter in European ardcore Punk..." Crikey Missus..that sounds a bit fab n'est ce pas? Next up are ADEQUATE 7 (middle left). Formed in Nov 2000, the lads are busy merging diverse influences to create a groove laden hardcore sound featuring the brass section of Moon Ska outfit Shooting Goon. Drawing further inspiration from AFI, Sick of it All as well as Funkadelic and A Tribe called Quest. Blimey a bit of everything there eh shipmates.. Also playing in this holidayfest package will be no strangers to the Forum LIGHTYEAR (pic bottom left), FIVE KNUCKLE and KENISIA
The Hurt Process
Saturday 27th July
Playing at the Forum due to an overwhelming demand from a multitude of Forum punters are Art Metallers SIKTH. Likened by one particular twat of a critic as "...being like blue cheese. The first time you hear them you're not sure. Thereafter you can't get enough, but you still don't understand why you like it..!" Using the twin vocalist technique as employed by the likes of the mighty 'Speedhorn, this sextet are so bruisingly heavy, so awesomely intense that after the set, you feel as if Henry Rollins has been using your head as a punchbag, or Sporty Spice has been sitting on it.Personally, I'm not sure which of those analogies I find the most frightening/offensive! If artrockers the CARDIACS had amps that went up to 11, this is bloomin' well what they'd sound like!
Sunday 28th July
Featuring self-styled 'hot rock bitches' COVE (with string -mangler of this parish Mr D. Briggs ), this psychedelic rock night promises to be a right ol' 'headfest' with ooh, lots of flashing lights, bare-breasted gogo dancers dancing 'The Pony', gallons of feedback , backward guitar solos (see pic right), and rumours of at least three Beatles popping in. Oh sorry, that was Woodstock wasn't it?.Back to the matter in hand, any band thats influenced by Shellac, June of '44 and Gary Numan can't be bad in our book. Also appearing are Mark Eason's Nifty Eagu & The Glow Pilots.